Va. school cafeterias can learn how to buy local food
Two lawmakers from opposite parties and opposite ends of Virginia have teamed up to encourage school cafeterias to serve more food from local farms.
Del. Kaye Kory (D-Fairfax) and Sen. Emmet W. Hanger, Jr. (R-Augusta) both introduced bills -- HB1549 and SB1090 -- in the recently concluded Virginia General Assembly to remove barriers that might prevent school purchasing officers from buying from local food producers.
The bills would have required the Virginia Department of General Services to draw up protocals for buying local and allowed schools to go outside competitive bidding procedures.
But it turns out the schools already have some flexibility that could allow them to buy local, even if many aren't aware of it. So the lawmakers pulled their bills.
Instead, with legislators' urging, the Virginia Department of General Services has agreed to hold workshops around the state to provide guidance for school district purchasers on writing contracts and following practices that will make it easier to buy from local farmers and wholesalers.
"Foods grown locally are fresher, better-tasting, and often more nutritious than foods from faceless factory farms thousands of miles away," Kory said in a written statement. "If we want our students to make healthier choices at school, we have to do all we can to offer the best products."
Richard Sliwoski, the DGS Director, will provide further details about the program at 9:45 a.m. Thursday in the General Assembly Building, Conference Room 8 west, in Richmond. The briefing is open to the public.
| March 2, 2011; 2:18 PM ET
Categories: General Assembly 2011
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